Death. A hard topic to discuss at the best of times, least of all on a Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. But, at the monthly meeting of CreativeMornings/Charlotte (CM/CLT) on Friday, November 3, speaker Mark Peres did just that.
Before taking on the main topic, the morning included CM/CLT host, Matt Olin, playing a cowbell to a live performance of “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by house band Revelwood Mission, as well as a game that featured hilarious “breaking news” bulletins by WJZY news anchors, Page Fehling & Jason Harper, on the deaths of Harry Houdini and the Greek philosopher, Chrysippus — who died of laughter after getting his donkey drunk.
After the revelry, Peres gave an arresting 20-minute talk on “Death” (a theme selected by CreativeMornings’ Miami chapter), focusing on how human beings make sense of their lives through the lens that one day – a day they can’t know – it will end.
“So what to do with this life? Will it be a disconnect or a walk toward the truth? Will it be a missed opportunity or will a light shine from within?” asked Peres.
Among other things, Peres delved into how we often use creativity to make sense of mortality and to leave behind something that we hope will be immortal. How our senses give us another way to experience time outside of the ticking of a clock.
“Chiros time is divine time, measured by depth of sensation. Time as we know it is altered as we are profoundly in the now. We’ve all had these moments, when all stops and all flows, slow dancing with our beloved,” said Peres. “We know ‘flow’ as that mental state in which we are fully absorbed in what we are doing. We are in time and of time as the universe makes itself available to us. We are fully alive, powerful, in the currents of eternity.”
Throughout his talk, Peres gave examples from his own life and experience with his family, as well as stories about how other – including the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia – chose to interact with the concept of the end of life.
As he wrapped up his talk, Peres left the audience with some questions – questions that were also personal challenges. “Are you living your life on your own terms? Are you questioning authority? Are you fighting for justice and peace? Are you living compassionately? Are you saying what needs to be said? Are you trying and failing and trying again? Are you saying yes? Yes to music and dance and play and expressions of the heart and rigors of the mind? Yes to laughter and joy and contemplation and prayer?”
After the audience gave Peres a standing ovation, Peres politely asked Olin, “Can I go now?” leaving those in the room to begin answering their own questions about how to live in relation to death.
I wasn’t there, darn it!
If you weren’t able to be in the room on Nov. 3, there are two ways to to experience Peres’ entire talk and a post-event discussion:
Celebrate CreativeMornings/Charlotte’s Second Birthday on Dec. 1
The next meeting of CreativeMornings/Charlotte will celebrate the group’s second anniversary and will feature live music, local coffee and food, and Queen City Quiz Show. The centerpiece of the morning will be a 20-minute talk from Violeta Moser, founder of Latin Americans Working for Achievement, speaking on the global topic of “Context.”
Moser will share her experiences moving to the United States from her native Peru and her work helping Latin Americans, documented and undocumented, to seek and fund higher education and to help create strong connections between different cultural identities in Charlotte. All this will take place starting at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 1 at Warehouse 242.